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Hong Kong police fire water cannon, tear gas at protesters defying rally ban

Published: Updated:

Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters gathered outside government headquarters, as thousands defied a ban to rally through the city center on Saturday. Hong Kong protesters also set fires as they tried to break through barriers to parliament.

A water cannon was briefly fired at protesters as well.

Protesters threw rocks and pointed lasers at riot police separated from the crowds by barriers.

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have taken to the city's streets despite a police ban on a planned rally and march.

A crowd of both young and old pumped their fists as they chanted slogans in the stands of the soccer field at Southorn Playground early Saturday afternoon.

Authorities are shutting down streets and subway service about five kilometers (three miles) west near the Chinese government’s office in Hong Kong. They warned that a public event may cause severe disruptions.

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of a decision by China’s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Organizers have called off a planned march to the Chinese government office after police denied permission for it, but some protesters may demonstrate anyway.